Oaks Park High School (OPHS), in the London borough of Redbridge, has been using videoconferencing equipment from Aver to host children's author events, allowing local primary and secondary schools to take part in and promote reading for pleasure.
The school wanted to videoconference using a secure, interoperable, high-quality video link that they could use regularly and reliably to connect with schools locally to bring experts (authors) into classrooms. The solution had to meet safeguarding regulations and offer high-quality audio and video for speaking and listening.
OPHS chose the AVer ClassHD codec - whose cost was only that of three iPads. With support from AVer and the school’s IT unit, the school installed the hardware quickly and easily on its network. It then registered with Janet VC Services (Janet is the UK's research and education network) and booked conferences to local schools via the JVCS booking system.
It can cost up to £350 per half-day to get an author to visit a school, though some do offer promotional sessions through their publishers which are at a lower cost or free. OPHS was able to share the cost of one author with four other schools. In this way Manford Primary School, Redbridge Primary, Ilford County High School, and Highlands Primary were all able to meet author Conrad Mason and ask him questions about writing, his books and his career. OPHS has connected with over 10 authors over the past year, including Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz, Anne Cassidy and Sally Gardner, each time sharing costs with three or four other schools.
Linda Hayes, learning resource centre manager at OPHS, said: “Reading for pleasure is proven to raise a child's reading level far quicker than just reading to learn. This is why the Redbridge VC Network was established and we are now aiming to bring authors into our classrooms through secure multipoint conference calls on a regular basis using AVer ClassHD. At OPHS we have used a number of different VC hardware products and have found AVer ClassHD to be easily comparable system to other, more expensive units.”